An exposé into the American Justice System, specifically Howard County MD, by an idiot. Basically I’m mad that I have to pay for my own lunch…
So I got the jury duty summons about a month ago. Group 32. Bamboozled my way out of it 5 years ago. Karma comes a calling. Monday: groups 1-9. Okay. Tuesday: groups 10-16. Nice, looking at Thurs/Fri if it’s a full docket. Wednesday: groups 17-43. What. The. Fuck. Hit up my local Law Dawg. Sounds like you got a big one. Just say you’re racist. Drive down to Old EC. This place is a fucking maze. Eventually walk into the courthouse. The guy behind the metal detector must have seen the look on my face literally 1 million times before because he smiled and said, “yup, you’re in the right place.” Somehow I felt like, oh you’re here for the ritualistic sacrifice too? didn’t seem like an appropriate joke.
“Put your keys, phone, and change into the tray and step through”
The metal detector goes off, I’m confused but the old man immediately says, “oh it’s just your belt.” Again, saying something like, good thing I forgot my belt holster and unregistered glock 9 at home seemed counter productive. Just settled on, “yup, don’t usually wear one of these.” I’m directed, for lack of a better comparison, to like a shitty college lecture room. Just rows of chairs filled with people unhappy to be there. The rather large bailiff says to me, “baffrooms down dere, coffee over dere, and if you feeling strong you can change dat wodder jug.” It’s your water jug, Mr. courthouse worker, why can’t you change it? I will say, bailiffs are nothing like gun toting security guards from Jerry Springer which I was lead to believe, but more on that later. 20 minutes late, guy rolls in, “just gonna wait a couple more minutes to give people time to make it, that parking lot is a zoo isn’t it? It isn’t. “You guys are doing so well!” This will become a theme. After about another 30 minutes, Steve (as I learned his name to be) said he needed everybody to sign in, and then he would give us our $15, cash. He emphasized cash. Dude, I’m unemployed, even if I have to jump through several hoops to get it, I’m gonna get that $15. Cash or check, it don’t bother me. I sign in and I notice they never asked for any sort of ID or verification. I’m smelling a new biz, get out of jury duty for $85. Pay me $85, I go in, say I’m super racist, and that’s $100 day for me. Entrepreneur mode: engage. Would you pay that? Let me know, this could be a real thing (patent pending) don’t steal my idea.
This is the part where we sit for several hours with our, if you have one, dicks in our hands. But that’s okay. Decent people watching.
As soon as I walking in I made eye contact with a guy across the room and recognized him. I had cut him off in the bar several years ago when he absolutely deserved it. He was shit faced and started being a dick to me, so I simply cut him off. He got out of his chair threatening to beat me up, or tried, because he immediately ate shit because he was so hammered. And he’s a big dude. His friends had to drag him out. But I know he remembers, somehow, because he was literally mean mugging me 100% of the time. No exaggeration. Every time I glanced over. See, I hold importance in some people’s lives. :).
One woman across-ish from me kept adjusting her blouses’ neckline, like she was worrying about showing too much cleavage. Was it a low cut dress? Nope. And if she had any cleavage, I sure as hell didn’t see it. Not that I was even looking, but if I was, wasn’t showing. Besides, I thought wearing a giant pearl necklace was like the international symbol for, “I’m secretly down.”
There was a dude who was probably late 30’s to my left and a woman who was 76 (she told me) on my right. They became my new friends. And by friends I mean (shitty ones like the TV show) she just kept complaining how she was cold and it sucks being old, just I wait and all the while he was looking at the Chive.
Steve comes back in the room, sorry it’s taking so long, yada yada yada, you all are doing a great job, there’s water over there if any of you are feeling strong enough to change it. Is this like a running joke? Like they always make it and the water hasn’t actually been changed since 1994. If it’s not changed tomorrow, that’s my best guess.
At this point a woman in the corner, who fell down the 4 stairs when she walked in I’d like to point out, is asleep and audibly snoring. Narcolepsy much?
It’s 3 PM. Steve already stated offhandedly, Da Judge don’t much like staying past 4. I don’t know why I’m writing him out like he’s a skrimpin’ boat captain, he’s a middle aged white dude, but it’s my story. I text my Law Dawg. No way they’ll have time to pick a Jury in an hour. This is the part where a small glimmer of hope creeps into your heart, only to be quickly crushed by Steve.
Steve comes out and says by law, you need protection, gats? condoms? nope, he means no one in the court room can use or know your name. So we all get random numbers. This again reminds me of my master Get Out Of Jury Duty Biz. At this point if you’ve convinced Steve that you are Karen Winchester from Olney, you’re good. Now you’re Juror 47. I like this idea more and more. I’m Juror 69. Unh! No I’m not, I’m actually a different number I can’t reveal for anonymity sake. Steve says we’ll go into the courtroom in the next 10 minutes, and that we’re all doing a great job. What are we? Pavlov’s Dogs? Like Steve thinks a little quasi positive reinforcement makes my butt not sore from these chairs that are sat in 5 days a week probably since 2003. WRONG.
Fuck 10 minutes, 40 minutes later we’re ushered into the courtroom and somehow even more uncomfortable pews. The pews mind you, are somehow colder than Narnia in the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I specify because in other CS Lewis Narnia books that is not the case. Yes there is more than one. They at least made 2 movies, right? You should know this.
In the courtroom there are 4 more bailiffs. Maybe they aren’t actually bailiffs, but they’re strapped. And the one bailiffs’ strap is unstrapped! I feel sooooo safe thanks to these folks. Anyways, point is, bailiff has got to be a kush job, none of these people are going hungry. And it seems like every 30 minutes a new one comes in to swap out for another. Break every half an hour? Regardless, best watching is one bailiff who looks like Peter Stormare with a mustache ATE Peter Stormare and a lady bailiff who looks like a white Oompa Loompa, the Johnny Depp version one. Lady Oompa looks all the part of a woman trying too hard, that is until Stache Stormare enters. He starts flirting with her! Instead of the icy hard bench like we all get, he wheels over a comfy rolley chair and you’ve never seen a heart melt so fast. For a visual sake I’ve gone through the trouble of doing a mock up of what their baby would look like:
Super cute! Now come the sorting. I feel like a Ravenclaw kind of guy. I can’t get into too many specifics, legally yet, not like we got many but basically they ask you thinly veiled questions in front of the entire group baiting you to see if you’re ballsy enough to say you’re racist in front of everybody. I’ll be honest, it would take a SUPER racist person to just openly say it in this scenario. Or a pure disdain for the process. 2 of the 3 lawyers were black, one on each side, and so was the judge. It would take something ‘special’ to walk up and be like, your honor, no offense but I think you are inferior because of your race, can I go home now? I know because the guy I mentioned earlier, who I kicked out of the bar, even didn’t admit it, and I well know his drunken thoughts on black people. Hint: They aren’t positive. He once called ‘River Hill’ ‘N****r Hill’ (not me, I didn’t say it, I’m just quoting) and if you’ve been to River Hill, thaaaaat’s a stretch. That should be the new ‘I have a black friend excuse,” I can’t possibly be racist, “I served on a Jury.” Would prove just as much…
Public questioning is over. Whew. Now they call about half the people up to the bench, one by one, for in depth personal questioning. My Law Dawg was right, this has taken well over an hour. The most annoying part is whenever one of the potential jurors approach the bench they blast this white noise over the speakers. I mean I guess it’s so we can’t hear what they’re talking about, which makes sense, but it’s fucking annoying. The worst part is they seem to know exactly when you’ve finally gotten used to it, and cut it off to ask a mundane question to the group, and then as soon as your ears stop ringing they start it up again. The bells. THE BELLS! (That’s an Edgar Allan Poe reference, get on my level, son!) They asked one question: along the lines of, would you have a problem if the defendant ‘identified themselves’ (they used that a lot, fuck 2017) as black, and this grizzled old black dude, like just looking at him you know he thinks we faked the moon landing, was the only on to raise his hand. Interesting call black fellow, let’s see how this plays. They call him up and even with the swarm of 1,000 white noise bees you can hear him basically screaming about how historically blah, blah due process, blah, blah. Calm down dude, Bull Conner and George Wallace aren’t in the courtroom (obscure historical references: check), you’re yelling at pretty seasoned looking lawyers and a judge. Anyways playing the crazy role worked and he gets sent ‘home’. I say home because he probably lives in an aluminum double wide trailer so the government can’t read his thoughts. Either that or hes a high powered CEO that is just a genius. Could go either way. 2 hours into this stage, they’ve dismissed just under half the pool (I counted) and told the rest of us we’d have to come back tomorrow to finish just the selection…
Long story short, JURY DUTY FUCKING BLOWS SO FAR. I cannot possibly imagine how long an actual high profile case must take for this nonsense. That’s why Bill Cosby got off. No reasonable person can make it through that process. I’d like to point out that they estimated the case will take 8 days, and so they asked if we had any crucial plans those 8 days and let everyone go that did. Now I’m an unemployed piece of shit so I couldn’t in good conscious say I had plans, but I will say $15 a day where they give you an hour for lunch and say, you’re on your own, isn’t worth shit. A sandwich for $10 a beer for $5, fuck yea I’m gonna have a beer at lunch #PowerMovesOnly, net $0. Justice is broken. At least give me a free sandwich. I’m serious about this business though, if you want out, it will only cost you a paltry $85, your day is worth that.
If I get released today, you’ll have another blog coming. If I don’t, I don’t think I can update anything until after the case. But don’t worry, if I get picked, I’m told we get a notepad… doodles and article ideas here we come!